This message went out from Emily Hedin yesterday. Please join the family meeting today at 4pm to discuss reopening plans. Zoom link can be found below.
SHA Executive Committee
I hope you all enjoyed a restful long weekend. I’m writing to share an important update on Breakthrough’s plans for the remainder of the school year. We have set a target date of Monday, April 19 for the start of in-person classes, with virtual instruction available for all families who prefer to continue remotely.
Please read this email for more information, and mark your calendar for a community meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 4pm via Zoom (link here). The meeting will be recorded and posted to our website for families unable to join.
Since the start of the year, Breakthrough has sought to make the work of reopening our school a collaborative process that carefully considers the diverse needs of staff and families. In November, we established a re-opening task force, composed of staff, parents, and Board members. The task force drafted Reopening Indicators, which Breakthrough opened for public comment in December. Since returning from winter break, we have tracked progress on these indicators.
We now see that all indicators are met or close to met, and we feel confident that now is the right time to move toward an in-person option.
While the indicators suggest we could open sooner than April 19, we have selected this date because it allows us to do the following:
Complete the third quarter (including assessment week) under our current routine.
Prepare an organized transition with time for onsite training for staff and orientation for students.
Allow staff members to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Maximize outdoor learning with the return of warm weather.
What will in-person classes look like?
Designing a school model that supports meaningful in-person and virtual learning is a considerable challenge. Breakthrough staff have met several times over the course of the year to discuss potential models. Throughout it all, I have been moved to hear how Breakthrough faculty keep an uncompromising commitment to their students at the center of the discussion. As a team, Breakthrough faculty have determined that asking guides and assistants to manage in-person learning for some children and virtual learning for other children overburdens classroom staff to the detriment of the students and the quality of their education. While there are no easy answers, we have concluded that a model where faculty either teach in-person or teach virtually is best for our school.
This means that Breakthrough classroom teams will either begin in-person instruction in April or will remain virtual through the end of the school year. Families can choose to keep their children with their current guides (whether the guide returns in-person or continues virtual). If your child’s guide is remaining virtual and you wish to return in-person (or vice versa), Breakthrough will place your child in another classroom and support your family as you make this transition.
As parents, we know how much the relationship with your child’s guide and assistants mean to you, and we do not make this decision lightly. Please know we will not reassign your child to another classroom without your collaboration.
While we will discuss the model and schedule in upcoming community meetings and letters, a summary is provided below:
Elementary students who choose to participate in in-person classes will be organized in two groups of no more than 10 students (Group A and Group B).
Group A will come onsite four mornings each week (Tuesday through Friday).
Group B will come onsite four afternoons each week (Tuesday through Friday).
Primary students who choose to participate in in-person classes will be organized into three groups of no more than 10 students (PK3, PK4 and Kindergarten)
PK3 students will come onsite two mornings a week.
PK4 students will come onsite three mornings a week.
K students will come onsite four afternoons a week.
Robust safety protocols will be in effect. These include:
Breakthrough understands some of our community members face elevated risk during this pandemic. We respect each family’s decision about what is best and safest for their student. To that end, Breakthrough will continue to offer robust virtual learning through the end of the school year, characterized by small groups and one-on-one instruction. If you do not wish for your child to resume in-person learning at this time, you may continue with the virtual curriculum. We will continue to support your family any way we can.
What can my family expect?
We understand that families will have many questions. We will provide regular opportunities to review the in-person schedule, health & safety guidelines, and important reopening information during our weekly family seminars. Below you can see target dates along the way:
During the week of March 8-12, Breakthrough will communicate which classrooms will provide in-person instruction and which classrooms will provide virtual instruction.
By March 19, families decide if their children will begin in-person or continue virtual. At this time, families that choose in-person will agree to our health & safety protocols through a Community Commitment to keep our school safe for all children and staff.
By March 29, Breakthrough will communicate classroom assignments (if applicable) and schedules for in-person learners.
During the week of April 5-9, Breakthrough will organize onsite training for staff and onsite orientation for in-person learners.
April 12-16 is spring break.
April 19 is the first day of in-person classes.
We look forward to discussing these plans with you in depth on Wednesday afternoon and throughout the two months ahead. As always, thank you for all you have done to support your students, the school, and one another.